New iPad features mean brighter futures for students, especially in special ed

Discover how new iPad features are changing the way special education students learn in the classroom.

July 27 2016 by

Dave Saltmarsh

iPad features enhance learning in special education
Apple Education has a long history of supporting students with special needs. Since their early days, they incorporated text-to-speech in their operating systems, a function that enables audio playback of text. And in Apple iOS, students can highlight text and listen to it – a function that allows them to self-check their work or listen as they read.

As iOS improved, so did the iPad features aimed at special education. Voice-over, zoom, speech, hearing aids and inverted colors are some of the options that allow students with special needs to more easily interact and learn in the classroom. Additionally, auto correct, define, keyboard shortcuts, predictive keyboard and spellcheck are features that help students – all managed in Casper Suite.

Other assistive technologies for the iPad include:

  • Bluetooth input devices (Includes keyboards, switches, multiple switches and assistive touch accommodations.)
  • Braille keyboards
  • Guided Access (Allows use of an app without ability to leave or access specific iOS functions.)
  • Mirrored handwriting (Used by dyslexic students to promote free-formed thinking. An enhanced experience with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.)

Don’t want all of this functionality available all of the time? No problem. The groups functionality within JAMF Software’s Casper Suite allows school admin to decide which students receive which capabilities at pre-determined times.

See Apple’s current work around special education here.

JAMF extends Apple functionality in Casper Focus
JAMF Software extended Apple’s Guided Access to Casper Focus – a free feature added to Casper Suite. It’s available worldwide to those with or without VPP or DEP. By using Guided Access, teachers can engage with students’ iPads from across the room. This functionality allows educators to discretely guide a student to a website without alerting others of their need for help.

Through the Casper Focus feature, teacher-to-student messages, teachers have the ability to send messages to one, some or all of their students. The message appears on a locked home screen until the teacher releases student devices. This ability allows them to:

  • Quickly gain students’ attention
  • Unobtrusively prompt a student(s) to get on task
  • Send a personal reminder to a student in order to help with transitions, i.e. “Five minutes before clean up.”

Additionally, teacher access to reset passcodes allows for a quick and easy method to resolve students accidently being locked out of their iPad, while also protecting students’ personal privacy. While some schools may block the use of passcodes, this leaves the students’ content accessible to anyone.

Coming soon from Apple
Apple’s iOS 10 will extend the iPad capabilities to support all users, regardless of ability. In their recent WWDC session, What’s new in Accessibility, Apple highlighted the following enhanced features coming in the fall release.

With enchanted typing feedback, iOS 10 will allow the last typed character or word to be read immediately after it’s typed. The feedback feature was especially designed for dyslexic students and adults. When paired with Speak Selection, which was hinted to have improved capabilities, it provides users self-check abilities, enabling them to proof-listen to their own writing.

The new Magnifier functionality utilizes the iPad’s native camera resolution to enable zoom controls, freeze frame capturing and the color application filters for increased contrast.

To further support hearing accessibility, iOS 10 will include a software version of Text Telephone (TTY), removing the barrier of access due to the need for specialized equipment. This will allow easy dialing of non-TTY phones and recognized standard TTY quick type predictions.

Creating an experience that’s customized for students’ individual needs is powerful. Discover how you can enhance student learning with personalized iPads.

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